The Arcata City Council unanimously decided earlier this week to formally advertise for a new city manager and to open the recruitment to any qualified applicants, council members said Friday.

”The reason why we decided to go outside is we want to have a very open and transparent process,” Councilman Michael Winkler said, adding city employees are welcome to apply.

The council met in closed session on Wednesday and Thursday to discuss the search. Current City Manager Randy Mendosa announced last month that he plans to retire in July after serving the city in multiple capacities -- including police chief -- for more than two decades.

”I think we have a good consensus among the council members on the process,” Winkler said. “We've been interviewing members of senior staff. We also have a session with the organized labor representatives to get their input on what they would like to see, what their feedback is on previous city managers they worked under.”

Community members who have input on the search are encouraged to contact the council, Mayor Mark Wheetley said.

”I think it's safe to say we're still at the front end of this process,” he said. “We're not being constrained by Randy's retirement date.”

The council plans to advertise in Western City magazine and other publications that cater to government employees, Councilwoman Alex Stillman said.

All applications are due by May 20, she added. The council plans to conduct interviews at the end of June.

”All in all, it's moving along as fast as we can possibly move it,” Stillman said.

Lorna Rodriguez can be reached at 441-0506 or lrodriguez@times-standard.com. Follow her on Twitter @LornaARodriguez.